Many people don't think of smoke from wood stoves and fireplaces as pollution but it is. Wood smoke is a threat to our health, well-being and environment. It contains hundreds of air pollutants, including gases and fine particulate matter that can cause cancer and other serious health problems such as: blood clots, heart attacks, stroke, lung disease, asthma, emphysema, pneumonia and bronchitis; irritation of the lungs, throat, sinuses and eyes; headaches; allergenic reactions, increased hospital admissions and even premature death.

Wood smoke is now recognized as a major source of air pollution. At current levels, fine particulates are now considered the worst kind of air pollution in BC, causing more illness and deaths (from lung and heart disease) than ozone. In fact, new research in the United States suggests that fine particulates are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths in that country each year.

Wood burning fireplaces and stoves can emit hundreds of times more pollution than any other form of heat such as natural gas, electricity, or oil. Wood smoke particles are so tiny and are emitted both indoors and outdoors and come into non-burning homes through cracks, ventilation systems and around closed doors and windows.

Wood smoke toxins stay active in your body up to 40 times longer than tobacco smoke. According to Environment Canada, burning wood in a conventional wood stove for 9 hours emits as many particulates into the atmosphere as a car does traveling 18000 km.

Fireplaces release six times more fine particulate matter than conventional stoves. This is the new second hand smoke.

A voice in the dark is never heard until someone listens!

We, the undersigned, call on all local governments in the province of British Columbia to create or amend existing bylaws to protect the residents of British Columbia from the health hazards, pollution, nuisance and interruption to normal daily life from all residential wood burning smoke and odour.

We hold the Government of British Columbia accountable to its residents for making sure that these bylaws are enforced and for fulfilling its committment to stop smoke pollution (particulate matter) in order to protect our health and environment.

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The A Breath Of Fresh Air petition to NORTH AMERICA was written by Vicki Morell and is in the category Environment at GoPetition.